Bowden vs. Meyer at the top of their game, who is better?

Which coach is/was better at the top of their game, Bobby Bowden or Urban Meyer?

I believe Bobby Bowden, at the top of his game (or I should say “games” as will be shown s below) is still better than Urban Meyer at the top of his.


At his best(s) - (96-99 and 91-94 seasons plus a host of others)Bobby Bowden has:

1.     Won more games

2.     Playing higher ranked opponents (avg.)

3.     Playing more ranked opponents and

4.     Outscored those opponents MORE . . .


than Urban Meyer has thus far in Urban’s career (using a 4 year time span).  I used a 4 year time span because that is how many years Urban has been at Florida.  Even if you take Bowden’s SINGLE best year and compare it to Meyers, Bowden still comes out the better.


The following stats/records used were:  W/L record of the teams, final AP rankings of the team’s who played against Florida St. and Florida, and final scores of those games.

I used these calculations to base my conclusion on: 

1.       Winning Percentage.  This is obviously a measure of how many times the coach won in comparison to losing.

Bowden Meyer
Year Record % Year Record %
87-90 87.50% (05-08 for all) 82.49%
88-91 85.73%   82.49%
89-92 85.73%   82.49%
90-93 87.98%   82.49%
91-94 88.75%   82.49%
92-95 88.43%   82.49%
93-96 88.58%   82.49%
94-97 88.58%   82.49%
95-98 88.13%   82.49%
96-99 92.30%   82.49%
97-00 90.38%   82.49%
98-01 83.98%   82.49%
99-02 78.90%   82.49%
00-03 73.13%   82.49%
01-04 70.73%   82.49%
02-05 69.43%   82.49%


2.    Team vs.  Number of Opponents in Top 25.  This is the way I tried to demonstrate a strength of schedule factor.  This provides insight into the quality of opponents played.  A team like Boise State can have a great winning percentage but play easy teams, so I wanted to make sure that if Bowden had a higher winning % it wasn’t because Urban is playing in the SEC (which is a tough conference).

3.     Average Top 25 Opponent Ranking.  This is a useful broadening of the demonstration of strength of schedule.  Not only can a team play a large number of top 25 teams, the difficulty of those top 25 teams should be taken into consideration.  Average top 25 opponents ranking doesn’t really mean much if FSU played the number 5 ranked team once in a season (or 4 year stretch) and FU played 13 teams with an average of 10.  BOTH number of top 25 teams and the average rank of those teams work together to give a better understanding of the strength of schedule component.

Florida State Florida
Year # of Ranked Opponents played Winning %   Year # of Ranked Opponents played Winning %
1991 6 84.60%   2005 3 75.00%
1992 6 91.70% 2006 5 92.86%
1993 6 92.30% 2007 4 69.23%
1994 5 86.40% 2008 5 92.86%
Sum 23 88.75%   Sum 17 82.49%
AVG Rank 12     AVG Rank 13  
1996 3 92.30% 2005 3 75.00%
1997 4 92.30% 2006 5 92.86%
1998 6 84.60% 2007 4 69.23%
1999 5 100.00% 2008 5 92.86%
Sum 18 92.30%   Sum 17 82.49%
AVG Rank 10     AVG Rank 13  


 4. Team vs. Opponent Scoring Percentage and Ratio.  This is a measure of dominance, whether it be dominance because the defense stopped the opponents extremely well (see FSU 1993), or because the offense was almost unstoppable.  This can be used as a tie breaker if 1,2 and 3 are relatively close, or it can further push one coach above the rest just to pile it on. 

Florida State (96-99)

FSU score/Opponent Score



Total Top 25 teams played


Average of the Top 25 teams played 10


Florida State (91-94)

Total FSU /Total Opp.



Total # of Top 25 played


Avg. Rank of Top 25 played 12


Florida (05-08)
FU Score/Opponent Score 2.073355
Total number of top 25 teams played 17
Average rank of top 25 teams played 13

There has to be another post to link the details of the full details because trying to get this stuff on the website is a nightmare.  So I will be working with that today.  All the numbers are here though to support my conclusions, its just the details that will come later.


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